Fish and their families

Fishes have a range of body sizes from the massive whale shark down to the smallest fish under a centimetre in length. Despite this diversity, all fish have a backbone or a notochord, and all breathe using gills. Worldwide there are over 32,000 described species of fish, with over 4,400 from Australia.

Fish are classified into two groups: cartilaginous fish or bony fish. Cartilaginous fish are characterised by their bones made of cartilage, this include sharks and rays. The majority of fish are considered bony fish, it is a much more diverse group with over 28,000 species. Bony fish include the Mackerel tuna and Eastern Australian salmon.

The Australian Museum Ichthyology Collection contains specimens of many of the species listed in the fact sheets.


Fish Factsheets

1146 Fact Sheets in this section

Australiasian Fishes project

Upload images and identify your own observations of fishes from Australia and New Zealand. We encourage anyone with an interest in fishes to become a part of the community.

Find out more

Parts, dissection and identification


Fishes of Sydney Harbour

Explore some of the most familiar and iconic fishes of Sydney Harbour. Learn more about the unexpected discovery of the Sydney Scorpionfish and how it differs from other scorpionfish outside Australia. Find out what a tiger shark eats for dinner and why the Bluestriped Goatfish can glow in the dark.

Explore Sydney Harbour fishes

Collection information


Deep sea fishes image gallery

People often think of deepsea fishes as having large teeth and light organs. Some deepsea fishes, like the fish in 'Finding Nemo' are indeed like that, but others are very different. This gallery shows just a few of them.



Interesting fish images

This gallery contains a small selection of interesting images that have been recently added to the site. The images have been sent from a wonderful community of keen divers, snorkelers, anglers, aquarists and fish enthusiasts. Thank you one and all!